An ongoing series of events dedicated to enhancing grass-fed livestock production
SFA is dedicated to improving education and awareness of the benefits of pasture techniques within our farmer-to-farmer network. We do that in a variety of ways:
- We launched our new Midwest Soil Health Summit to address the growing evidence that cover cropping and livestock integration principles can be both profitable and scalable.
- We hold grazing-based education at our SFA Annual Conference, including the Advanced Grazing Workshop in 2013 that paved the way for the Midwest Soil Health Summit.
- Our new Keep Cattle in Minnesota project, in conjunction with NRCS, will work to sustain Minnesota’s beef and dairy industries and environment.
- SFA was the lead sponsor for the Grazing Lands Conservation Association’s annual Videoconference, held at locations around Minnesota Dec. 5, 2013.
- Our yearly farm-and-food session at the Mill City Farmers Market spreads information about grass-based farming and grassfed meat preparation to a consumer audience.
For questions regarding our GrazeFest series, contact SFA Livestock and Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg at 218.445.7580 or sevenpinesfarm andfence@ gmail.com.
SFA Hosting Midwest Soil Health Summit Feb. 19-20, 2014, in Alexandria, Minn.
Registration is now open for SFA’s inaugural Midwest Soil Health Summit, to be held Feb. 19-20, 2014, at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. The Summit will convene some of the most innovative farmers and researchers in the Upper Midwest for two days of networking, speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions – all geared at improving the health of your soil.
The keynote speaker will be Gabe Brown of Brown’s Ranch in Burleigh County, N.D. Brown is a pioneer in diverse cover cropping, having used no-till techniques for two decades. His family ranch encompasses 5,400 acres, all managed sustainably and with the goal of building ideal soil health conditions. His pesticide-free cover and companion crop system has allowed the Browns to reduce their use of commercial fertilizer by over 90 percent and the use of herbicides by over 75 percent as well as increase production and profitability.
Other confirmed speakers include:
- Richard Bieber, a producer from South Dakota who has been practicing no-till for 27 years and cover cropping for over a decade. Bieber says, “When it comes to soil health, you are speaking directly to my passion.”
- Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock and Grazing Coordinator, will be leading a session on designing and customizing cover crops.
- Wendy Taheri, Research Microbiologist with the North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, will present on cover cropping and mycorrhizae in soils. Learn more about Wendy here.
- Jay Fuhrer, District Conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Bismarck, N.D., will lead a session on how to make soil health principles work on your farm. “Jay feels his mission in life is to be part of the team that makes this happen. He is the glue that holds this stuff together,” said Solberg. At below right is a video presentation from Fuhrer on innovative no-till.
Cost is $100 for current SFA members and $150 for non-members. Click here to register.
Burleigh County SCD Hosting Soil Health Workshop
The Burleigh County (N.D.) Soil Conservation District is hosting its annual Soil Health Workshop, “Finding Your Path,” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 23, 2014, at the Ramkota Hotel, 800 S 3rd St, Bismarck, N.D.
Speakers include Ray Archuleta, Soil Health Specialist/Agronomist at USDA-NRCS, Greensboro, N.C.; Dr. Rick Haney, ARS Soil Scientist at Grassland, Soil & Water Research Lab, Temple, Texas; and Jay Fuhrer, Burleigh County NRCS.
The event is free but registration is required if you wish to eat lunch. Register by Jan. 17 by calling 701-250-4518 Ext. 3 or online at www.bcscd.com. To download an event flyer with complete details, click here.
New research finds organic milk healthier than conventional
A new study evaluating organic milk produced in the U.S. finds that organic milk has about 62 percent more omega-3s, compared to milk produced by cows on conventional dairy farms. Read the story here.
Click here to download SFA’s new Cover Crop Fact Sheet, a one-page guide to the basics of cover cropping by SFA Livestock and Grazing Coordinator Kent Solberg. Learn the basics of cover cropping, view examples of major crop types, and find Kent’s recommended resources.
Minnesota Dairy Initiative is here to help
The Minnesota Dairy Initiative is a program that promotes a healthy and vibrant dairy industry in Minnesota. SFA is a project partner with MDI; to learn more, click here.
For more information on grazing, visit the following sites:
- Animal Welfare Approved
- American Grassfed
- Burleigh County Soil and Conservation District
- Eating Fresh
- Eat Wild
- Grassfed Exchange
- Pasture Project
- Practical Farmers of Iowa
- Click this link for American Grassfed’s A Meat Terminology Primer for Consumers.
- Click this link for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Grazing Cover Crops Fact Sheet (2013)
Contacts for Sustainable Farming Association:
Kent Solberg, Livestock & Grazing Specialist
18618 Co. Rd.23
Verndale, MN 56481
Jason Walker, Communications Coordinator
4924 Upton Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Shifting the focus of agriculture from maximum yields to maximum soil health quality is critical to the sustainability of agriculture in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, the United States and globally. SFA is committed to continued soil health programming, including programs addressing the integration of cover crops, row crops and livestock grazing. We will continue the pursuit of funding and programs that foster the development of soil health building practices for the long term.